Writer: Trevor Lock
Reviewer: Tom Ralphs
When the writer and performer of a show tells you that he too would rather be watching something else, you know you’re watching something likely to divide opinion. Community Circle is a show that some people will love, some people will hate and others will just be completely bemused by.
With seats around the floor of the stage as well as beyond, it has the feel of an alcoholics anonymous meeting that’s been opened up to the public, as Lock sort of explains what the show is about. He is trying to conduct a collaborative experiment to find out if there is such a thing as reality. That experiment consists of getting five people to take notebooks and write down their subjective thoughts about the show as it progresses. As robust peer-validated research goes, it’s fair to say it’s not going to give you the most reliable of evidence. It also means that the show is, at least in part, dependant on what the people who volunteer to take notes actually write down.
Lock also gives other members of the audience roles to play, recruiting someone to take photos and finding out who has had the most recent birthday so that he can get the audience to sing something that isn’t Happy Birthday to them. He is a likeable and amusing host but it’s only in the closing part of the show that he really demonstrates his ability to draw on observations and take material further rather than simply responding to whatever the audience has said.
The concept behind the show is undoubtedly clever and the show has been performed in different cities and different languages for six years. Whether it’s the quality of the show, the novelty factor or a mixture of the two that has allowed it to run for so long is open to debate however.
Reviewed on 9 August 2019 , running from 31 July to 25 August (not 12 or 19) | Image: Gavin Black